There was chaos and panic in Buenos Aires central Once station following Argentina’s worst rail crash in more than three decades. At least 49 people died and more than 600 hundred were injured when a packed commuter train with over 800 passengers on board slammed into the buffers, the front two carriages being crushed.
Frantic efforts were mounted to free the trapped passengers while on the platforms injured lay waiting to be taken to hospital. Two passengers recounted the ordeal. “I was shocked. The place was full of blood. There were injured people everywhere, doors flying,” said one man, while another recalled: “People started to break windows and get out however they could. Then I saw the engine was destroyed and the train driver trapped amongst the steel. There were a lot of people hurt, a lot of kids, elderly.”
Officials said the carnage was suspected to have been caused by faulty breaks on a train line which carries around 10 million passengers a year. The crash has sharpened focus on Argentina’s overcrowded rail services which have been plagued by accidents.
One trade union official pointed the finger at the operating company accusing it of, “insufficient maintenance” and saying there is a lack of oversight from the state.
Last September two commuter trains crashed into a city bus killing 11 while a year ago another train accident claimed the lives of four people.